Jan 28, 2015

Quick Bite (and Pretty) Recipe - Grilled Pear and Mozzarella Balls Crostini

This quick bite recipe can be served as an afternoon treat or party finger food. You can substitute the pear with peach if desired. 


  • 1 good quality fig bread
  • 1 pack of mini mozzarella balls
  • 1 pear
  • Small bundle of fresh mint
  • Some balsamic vinegar


Slice the fig bread into about 1/2 inch thickness and transfer to a baking sheet. Toast the bread in the oven with medium high heat till slightly crunchy on the edges.

When biting into the bread, the fig seeds have that crystallized sugar texture with condensed fruity sweetness, which matches perfectly with mint. 

Peel and slice the pear. Lay them onto a grill and sear both sides till you get that pretty grill marks -

Arrange one grilled pear slice on each bread slice. Add 2 to 3 mini mozzarella balls and drizzle some balsamic vinegar. Lastly, garnish with some fresh mint leaves.

Fig bread is hard to come by especially during off seasons. You can always buy them when available and store in the freezer. Wrap the bread with couple layers of cling foil and put into a Ziploc bag. The bread can be stored in the freezer away from raw stuff for a while. Just heat it up with medium temperature in the oven before serving, no defrosting needed.

Jan 21, 2015

Decent, Clean, and Friendly Neighborhood Restaurant - Sabroso! Mexican Grill

I had no idea that Sabroso was featured on Food Networks Diners Drive-Ins and Drives until finishing the meal and seeing this signed picture on the wall -

The show was premiered on July 11th, 2014 with the host Guy Fieri cruising down southern California. Well, I was already happy with the service and decent food even without the celebrity halo. The TV show only further proved that Sabroso was indeed a nice neighborhood joint whenever you feel like some Mexican grill dishes.

A typical exterior for a simple SoCal restaurant sitting inside the plaza -

Clean and bright settings -

Happy hours available Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. -

Other alcoholic beverages -

Sabroso opens at 9 on Saturdays and Sundays, so if you are a huevos rancheros or breakfast burrito lover, here's a pretty decent place to start out the weekend -

Click on the image for an enlarged view -

Couldn't quite guessed some of the Spanish words, but our waitress was very friendly and answered all my questions with a bright smile on her face.

Mexican beer Modelo Especial $3.95 -

Light and slightly tangy, a good choice to accompany the day time meal.

Compliment salsa and chips -

The green colored salsa is the mild one. The red salsa on the other hand, is the devil kind carrying some heat. In fact, it has an aftertaste similar to Chinese spicy hot pot, pretty interesting.

Menudo soup, served with either fried taquitos or handmade tortillas $8.95 -

Think beef stock with a touch of Mexican flare. The flavors are not as strong and spicy as expected, not a bad thing though. 

The freshly chopped onion brightens up the flavor -

Sabroso also uses hominy in their menudo soup (basically dried maize kernels) -

Picked fried taquitos for the soup, but personally I love to eat it with salsa instead -

House specialty comes with salad, handmade tortillas, rice, and beans (black or Peruano). You can choose one of the following dressings for the salad: ranch, Caesar, balsamic, thousand island, Italian. Decided to go with Italian -

House specialty: pork chile Colorado $10.95 -

You can choose between smoky red sauce or the much milder and slightly tangy verde option. 

Tender pork with all the seasonings absorbed within the meat. I'm usually not a big fan of black beans because sometimes it gets a floury and mushy texture, but not for Sabroso. I think 1/3 of the beans went down to my tummy, might sound little but that's a milestone for me.

Antojitos with enchiladas, tinga (shredded chicken), no beans but doubled the rice, both red and verde sauce $8.95 -

See, never a big fan of beans so I got double rice instead, also asked for extra salsa to pour all over the rice. 

The food here is decent. You won't find the hardcore local stuff at Sabroso, but similar flavors are definitely there. The nice staff and clean environment are pluses for this place. I would love to revisit over and over again if Sabroso is close to home or work - a good neighborhood Mexican grill restaurant. 

Cindy's Rating: 6 (leaning towards 7 because of its wonderful staff)

Sabroso! Mexican Grill
13129 Harbor Blvd,
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 537-7080

Business Hours: 
Mon to Thurs 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. - 9 a.m.

Jan 14, 2015

A Totally Doable Fancy Appetizer - Scallops Sashimi with Kumquat Juice, Shiso, and Fleur De Sel

Fancy but easy sushi-like appetizer to jazz up the night.

Scallops sashimi with kumquat juice, shiso, and fleur de sel - 


  • 2 big sashimi grade scallops
  • 1 shiso leaf
  • 2 kumquats
  • 1 tablespoon of ikura
  • Some grade seed oil
  • Small pinch of fleur de sel or other good quality sea salt


Carefully halve the scallop so its round shape still holds. Thinly slice the scallop halves again. So for each big scallop, you'll get 4 thinly sliced scallops. Roll up the shiso leaf and finely chop it.

Plate the scallop slices, if the shape slightly falls apart, just gently push them back to round shape position.

Drizzle a little bit of grape seed oil and squeeze 2 kumquats throughout. Evenly arrange the ikura around the scallops and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Finish plating with some finely chopped shiso.

You can slice the scallops and finely chop the shiso leaves ahead of time and store them in the fridge. Just assemble the remaining ingredients right before serving. Its refreshing and light taste can wake up the palate and smoothly lead to the heavier entree selections. Take it up a notch? Try serving this dish with a glass of brut champagne or trocken riesling.

Other fancy appetizer recipe:
Grilled shrimps with mango salsa
Beef shabu with a touch of sesame dressing and homemade spicy oil
Shabu shabu Black Angus beef slices with ponzu garlic dipping sauce
Foie gras with strawberry guava jam and Asian pear